The famous SUV and the creators of the popular CJ series of the off-roaders for army, Jeep is about to come to India very soon. Jeep, which has been the part of Chrysler group that is now owned by Fiat, has been steadily bringing its line of off-roaders fit to the European automobile market considering the emission norms of Europe. And if it is fit for Europe then it is well suited for the Indian automobile market as well. The President and CEO of Jeep, Michael Manley visits India very often and he knows the dynamics of the Indian automobile market very well. He acknowledges that the customers in India appreciate the best things without bothering about the price tags on the product, thus the company is very keen on bringing its Grand Cherokee to India.
Currently Jeep has a huge range of diesel run SUVs and it seems that Compass, Commander and Patriot, which are being sold in the automobile market of Europe currently, could follow the lead of Grand Cherokee. At the same time Jeep will be bringing other soft-roaders based on Fiat technology in the near future. The company is evaluating a competitor of B-segment that may be introduced by the year 2014. Once Jeep steps into the market of India, it may as well be followed by Dodge and Chrysler sometime later.
This is to be noted that even for the creator of the SUV, Jeep, the all new Grand Cherokee is a flagship vehicle. It can be spotted amongst the crowd of many with its grille which is a seven-slat toothy design, while the huge bonnet has a square off strong looking feel with embellished wheel arches that give this vehicle a tough look. What is surprising is that it looks quite luxurious when seen from the rear,but this is a completely opposite sight considering the tough look at the front of this vehicle. Since it is built on the platform of Mercedes-Benz M-class (as in the past Daimler owned Chrysler), so the new Grand Cherokee’s chassis is the strongest and stiffest in its category. This simple elegant feature makes this vehicle a solid and tough one to ride as well as handle while it does the off roading without any difficulty
There are few traditional attributes of Jeep that has been carried over to the Grand Cherokee. While the manual locking diffs are not the part of the attributer list, the transfer case of low-ratio is present in this vehicle. The Selec-Terrain dial is very similar to the Terrain Response of Range Rover where it lets you select from the conditions of surface you may be driving on after which the vehicle makes the adjustments to different settings on its own automatically to get the vehicle the best traction which results in better performance than any other vehicle in this category.
Fiat has designed and developed the diesel common-rail motor under the bonnet of Grand Cherokee, but it has been manufactured by the VM Motori which is the specialist of diesel engine technology. With displacing the 2987cc of Mercedes-Benz’s V6 3.0-liter engine while utilizing the same size of pistons,the diesel manufacturing firm has outdone itself by tuning the diesel motor in such a way that it delivers power and peak torque in an absolutely silky smooth manner, which is unbeatable by anyone else. But the owner gets only an automatic five-speed transmission that is surprisingly not very ideal for a machine which performs like this.
However, on the interior, there is a very airy cabin welcoming you to its captivity where driver can actually stretch himself and adjust his seat to his choice of driving position, while there is a lot of leg-room at the rear of the cabin as well. The round-boss steering wheel is traditional fitment of Jeep while the switchgear and other detailing look quite familiar too. But the quality of plastic used inside the cabin is not up to the mark if compared to the likes of Mercedes-Benz or Volkswagen, but some people may like the rugged ambience of the cabin a lot.
This rugged, tough, anywhere-reachable SUV of Jeep will definitely make waves in the SUV segment in India as soon as it is introduced here. But the manufacturing mode is still not clear, which will be a decisive factor when fixing a price tag to this wonderful off-roader. If Jeep takes the local assembly route and a possible local production at a later stage to keep the tag of price anywhere below Rs 40 Lakh, it will surely have a good chance to beat its competitors.